Mammoth
Deviations


4.5
superb

Review

by Claire Q. CONTRIBUTOR (56 Reviews)
July 4th, 2017 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Give me seven scoops of pure pink indulgence

The revelation I got from Deviations was that I didn't need to understand a thing to enjoy it. Mammoth, a Los Angeles progressive metal trio consisting of Wes Thrailkill (guitar), Yasutaka Nomura (bass), and Aliyar Kinik (drums), have done all the thinking for me.

Deviations knows exactly what it is. There’s no identity crisis to be found in its seemingly disjointed, multi-part compositions that leap from section to section with shocking ease. The way that songs segue and flow into one another almost makes Deviations feel like a single lengthy piece. A cup of free-form jazz, a teaspoonful of funk, and a sprinkle of shimmering ambience - Deviations has it all, and then some. Its only predictability lies in its unpredictability, its progressions frequently colliding into fresh new ideas. And all of this, of course, is executed with an impeccable sense of technicality. The playing flows effortlessly through the smooth runs of Deviations - no viscosity is present here. Flying solos abound, of which the bass guitar actually gets a pretty big share. Indeed, just think of skilled acrobats quickly navigating through a jungle of trapezes. To top it all off, the production is clean and expansive, offering plenty of room for the sounds of Deviations to explore.

As Deviations plays out, it embraces ambience and chaos in equal parts. It’s sweet perfectly paired up with savoury. “Entanglements” contrasts its jittery dissonance with reprieves of softly radiating guitar and a languorous bass passage. And it’s in such sweet moments that I can almost feel myself floating off into the realms of Deviations’ atmosphere. “The Acclimation of Sedation” (feat. Chase Bryant and Mateus Asato) is just as dreamy, and serves as an expository for two guest solos. Granted, I’m not sure if the soloists add much variety to the actual composition, but they are welcome presences nonetheless for their technical prowess. “Obscurements” (feat. Ben Luria) is the funky 10-minute staple of the record, complete with saxophone and an insanely groovy bassline that I can’t resist grinning about. Come to think of it, Deviations has plenty of quirky moments - “The Hilarity of Singularity” features odd chromatic passages and twangy notes, the title track randomly brings in a programmed beat (and makes it work), and “Unlimited Access to the None” cranks up the funk to 11.

Deviations is self-indulgent. Deviations is carefree. It’s an exploration of music-making limits without much regard for conventional structuring or easy hooks. Yet it’s very assured about its abilities to be not only interesting, but effortlessly pleasing. It has the confidence of a worldly, travelled man who knows every corner of the land. No doubt Deviations is a serious work, but it always retains a sense of fun, perhaps even cheekiness. In fact, that might be what really unites the tracks of Deviations - it might not rely on individual melodic connections, but rather a more overarching thematic or emotional coherence. While it’s hard to pinpoint the source of this unity from the ground-up, a more global outlook reveals Deviations' character as an entity that aims to be anarchic in itself. The seemingly contradictory term of “organized chaos” helps to capture the wild and wandering spirit of Deviations; it knows that every step it takes is towards some ultimate direction, even if that direction isn’t yet apparent to anyone.

Deviations doesn’t give a damn about what you think. It’s aware of its own purpose, its own beauty, and it has no qualms about showing off. Write a dissertation about its chord progressions, or just bop along - either one’ll work.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
bloc
July 3rd 2017


54441 Comments


Nice to see this get a review, it is an awesome album.

Definitely the best instrumental metal album from last year that I heard.

Digging: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

indeed, this is the type of instrumental metal that I like (very jazz-heavy)

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


2918 Comments


Thaaaank youuuuuu, accurate rating. Probably my favourite overly indulgent prog album. Yas' bass work is absolutely delicious. Fingers crossed these guys will be around for a long time.

Oh and fantastic review, came together really well. Hard pos.

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm rather partial to the bassist, partially for aesthetic reasons

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


2918 Comments


He is a beautiful man if that is what you are getting at

No homo

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He is very beautiful indeed and I envy his hair

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


2761 Comments


I don't want to listen to this, but you make it sound delicious. Fantastic review.

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bloc
July 4th 2017


54441 Comments


Shame this was overlooked because of that bland ass AAL album

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


9441 Comments


I'm with Blushful, genre is not my bag, but the writing is very much my bag.. Have a pos in a bag.. Bag

Digging: A.R. and Machines - Die Grune Reise

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
July 4th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you, you've really got your comment in the bag

BeyondCosby
September 28th 2017


2398 Comments


I saw these guys with Haken the other weekend. They put on an incredibly tight show, which is even more impressive given the fact that they supposedly had to replace their drummer the week before.

bloc
January 19th 2018


54441 Comments


Super fuckin underrated damn. The guitarist is one of the best in the game right now. He even rivals Tosin imo



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